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I admit to being a little biased as the local MP but I’m firmly of the view that the North Shore is one of the best places to live in New Zealand. We have beautiful beaches, a flourishing cultural scene, good shopping, cafes and a relaxed lifestyle – all just a short drive, traffic permitting, from downtown Auckland.

But there’s always room for improvement and it’s important to keep focused so it’s encouraging to see some of the developments planned for the Shore over the next decade.

The local board, very ably chaired by Joe Bergin, has recently unveiled its 10-year budget where they’ve focused on improving access to our biggest assets, such as Takapuna Beach, enabling more of us to get active and enjoy all that the North Shore has to offer.

Some of their plans for the next decade are very promising for recreational activities, giving us a chance to enhance opportunities for walkers and cyclists. I support the planned SkyPath over the Harbour Bridge and will continue to work with Transport Minister Simon Bridges towards more cycle ways for the electorate. A new bridge over Wairau Creek and a replacement for the Black Rock Bridge on the Milford-Takapuna coastal walk will make it safer and easier to experience one of our favourite short walks.

Hurstmere Green has made a big difference to the shopping area in Takapuna, providing a green link to the seafront and a well-used public space for the community. The opening up of the alleyway at Fortieth and Hurstmere will be helpful to ease the congestion on the Strand over the busy summer months.

An active participant in many of these initiatives has been Peter White, who is moving on after seven years in charge of the Takapuna Beach Business Association. Under his leadership, Takapuna has become more business-friendly and it’s rebranding includes becoming “Tech-apuna” which has attracted some very successful technology and ICT companies. Thank you Peter for all your energy and enthusiasm, you’ve really made a difference to your community.

As the Minister for Senior Citizens, I was pleased to recently host a “Seniors about Seniors” afternoon tea in Milford. This was an opportunity to discuss how the National-led Government is addressing issues of importance to those in our community who are in, or nearing their retirement years.

We are planning another Senior’s event and the Prime Minister will be my guest of honour at a morning tea next month. If you’d like to be on our mailing list and receive our new Super Seniors newsletter, please contact my office.

The perspective of young people is also well worth listening to and I’m looking forward to selecting my North Shore representative for the Youth Parliament. It is a great opportunity for a politically-minded young person aged 16-18 to go to Wellington on the 19th and 20th July and take part in debates and experience the reality of life in the House of Representatives.

A few weeks ago, I represented the government at the Inaugural Threatened Species Summit in Melbourne as one of the keynote speakers, discussing the New Zealand experience of conservation.

In the spirit of the ANZAC tradition, our two countries have agreed to join forces where we can to fight against the Eco-invaders that threaten our vulnerable endangered species. We face similar problems and it was very useful to explore the opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other’s initiatives.

Meanwhile, we will be having another get together with seniors on the 18th of September. If you’d like to join us please contact Joan Finlayson at finlaysonr.j@xtra.co.nz or phone 489 9083.

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